General Hazel Johnson Brown
Hazel Johnson Brown, the United States first African American female general, first African American chief of the Army Nurse Corps and Director of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing was born on October 10, 1927 in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
General Brown’s distinguished medical career began in 1947 when she enrolled in the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing in New York, City. In 1953 she began work at the Philadelphia Veterans Hospital. She later joined the Army in 1955 and became a Staff nurse in Japan and Chief nurse in Korea. She continued her medical education while in the army by obtaining her bachelors degree in nursing from Villanova University, masters degree in nursing education from Columbia University and her doctorate in education administration from Catholic University in America. Brown was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
She became the first African American female general and first African American chief of the Army Nurse Corps in 1979. Her responsibilities in this position included being in charge of 7,000 men and women nurses in the Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserves. She was also responsible for the oversight of eight medical centers, 56 community hospitals and 143 freestanding clinics in this country and around the world. Upon retirement, General Johnson Brown continued her service in education as a professor of nursing at Georgetown University in Washington, DC and later was in charge of George Mason University’s Center for Health Policy in Virginia. She died August 5, 2011 in Wilmington, Delaware at age 83.